U.S. railroads and unions have secured a tentative agreement and have averted a strike after 20 hours of negotiation and the involvement of Biden Administration officials. The President called the deal a “big win for America” and for rail workers, according to a report from Reuters.
“I’m optimistic that we can do this in other fields as well,” Biden said. “Unions and management can work together for the benefit of everyone.”
U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh announced the deal earlier today.
“The Biden Administration applauds all parties for reaching this hard-fought, mutually beneficial deal,” Walsh added. “Our rail system is integral to our supply chain, and a disruption would have had catastrophic impacts on industries, travelers and families across the country.”
The tentative deal, if approved, would give rail workers a 14.1 percent wage increase immediately and unfreeze pay as well as provide improves the time-off policies.
Averting a rail shutdown is a win for Americans and the U.S. economy. The strike could have frozen almost 30 percent of U.S. cargo shipments and stoked inflation.
Amtrak is currently working to resume service that was suspended ahead of the strike, according to The Washington Post.
“This tentative agreement will keep our trains moving, stations bustling, and employees proudly serving customers as we move them across this great country,” Amtrak chief executive Stephen Gardner said in a statement.
Amtrak was planning to operate some shorter, state-funded routes that were previously canceled. It is unclear if longer-distance routes would be restored Thursday.
Regional rail services that were monitoring the strike situation had warned of potential shutdowns but did not suspend service.